Though Robert Delaunay had virtually discarded representational imagery by the spring of 1912 when he embarked on the Windows theme, vestigial objects endure in this series. Here, as in Simultaneous Windows 2nd Motif, 1st Part (Collection Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York) of the same moment, the centralized ghost of a green Eiffel Tower alludes to his enthusiasm for modern life.
Analytic Cubism inspired Delaunay’s fragmentation of form, oval format, and organization of the picture’s space as a grid supporting intersecting planes. However, unlike the monochromatic, tactile planes of Cubism, those of Delaunay are not defined by line and modeling, but by the application of diaphanous, prismatic color. Delaunay wrote in 1913: “Line is limitation. Color gives depth—not perspectival, not successive, but simultaneous depth—as well as form and movement.”¹ As in visual perception of the real world, perception of Delaunay’s painting is initially fragmentary, the eye continually moving from one form to others related by hue, value, tone, shape, or direction. As focus shifts, expands, jumps, and contracts in unending rhythms, one senses the fixed borders of the canvas and the tight interlocking of its contents. Because identification of representational forms is not necessary while the eye moves restlessly, judgments about the relative importance of parts are not made and all elements can be perceived as equally significant. The harmony of the pictorial reality provides an analogy to the concealed harmony of the world. At the left of the canvas Delaunay suggests glass, which, like his chromatic planes, is at once transparent, reflective, insubstantial, and solid. Glass may allude as well to the metaphor of art as a window on reality.